Count My Vote launches initiative to change Utah's primary elections


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  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    Even though Senator Bennett lost due to devious tactics and outsiders such as Freedom Works almost took down Senator Hatch, the caucus system is still the best. Voters have beat good people due to false campaigning by outsiders. The caucus system is the best for Utah and if the party's stay true to their principles and processes, this is still a good system. A minority group of people can play the system. However, at the precinct level where people overran the normal caucus groups is where there was no control. Primary elections is not the way to go without a weeding out process. Without controls at the caucus just like elections one party can thwart the normal process.

  • CF Mom Sandy, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    I vote in every election. I attend every caucus. I was frustrated in the recent municipal primary when the officials at my voting site said I was the 5th voter of the day (at 5:00pm). They knew I would be there and had some questions about the ballot they had waited for me to answer. (Simple ones about why there were not primaries in all races.)

    I am not hard core right, left or middle. I simply believe that as a citizen I need to make the effort find out and be involved in the decision making process that results in the leaders of my community, state, etc. Taking away any step in that process dilutes the involvement of the individual & weakens the connection between leadership and citizenship.

    On the other hand, I have been offended by those that get "hyped up" over a single issue or candidate, appear in the process once, take over a caucus and the delegate slots and then disappear never to be seen again. Meanwhile, those who make time on a continuing basis are shut out of the decision making process we have made a long term commitment to be a part of.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    I love how those against this petition claim that only big name big business and big money politicians will represent us.


    As if we aren't already dominated by this already. Are Neiderhauser, Brad Wilson, Stephensen, Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, Mia Love, Bishop, Ota, and the rest of our "representatives" small-town poor/avg people?

    Are the folks wanting to relocate our prison really representing us?

    Are the folks who shortsale on their homes really that poor that their 6 figure income plus free benefits really small business people?


    Get rid of this joke caucus system already!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    As one who has attended many GOP neighborhood caucuses and served twice as a convention delegate, I can testify that the current system does NOT protect us against the "monied interests." Quite the contrary.

    The present system is a sham that only further empowers those with money. The conventions are controlled entirely by a small group of power brokers. I've witnessed many times the convention chair simply ruling a person who wished to speak in opposition to party favorites as "out of order" and denying them the chance to stand and speak.

    We need a primary system in BOTH parties.

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 19, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    To continue:

    The caucus/convention system is not without its flaws. It is clear that the motivation for the Count My Vote movement is the fear that "rank and file" voters feel disenfranchised, because the conventions (particularly the GOP) have become dominated by radical or "fringe" elements, that do not represent the viewpoints of most voters. This not the fault of the system, but of how it is implemented.

    I feel that the threshold number of delegates to avoid a primary should be raised back to 70%, because that higher threshold serves as a check on the abuses of the caucus/convention system. A candidate that can garner 30% of delegate votes has enough support to warrant a primary. This checks the abuse of power by delegates, and protects the rights of the "rank and file" to have a say in how candidates are selected.

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 19, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    There is no "perfect" system to choose candidates. There are flaws and weakness in both the caucus/convention and the direct primary methdod.

    I prefer the caucus system for two reasons:

    1) It offers voters a direct say in how candidates are selected. Neighborhood precincts choose delegates to represent them at the state and county levels. Those delegates should consult with their neighbors to select the best candidates. Even persons who do not (or cannot) attend a caucus meeting may still contact their delegates.

    2) The caucus is a check on the abuses of a direct primary system. One of the real problems with direct primaries is they favor candidates who have money and connections. The caucus/convention allows candidates who may have less money a chance to get on a ballot, thus checking the abuses of the direct primary system.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    "Why are you opposed to even letting the people vote on this?"

    Because many people who vote are totally ignorant about the issues or candidates they are voting on, and are easily swayed by slick political ads and outright lies spread by wealthy power brokers. Anyone who doubts this should just look at who we have for President for confirmation.

  • cmbennett1 OGDEN, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 12:40 a.m.

    I did indeed vote in the last primary election, and intend to vote in November. I also attended my last Party Caucus Meeting and listened to potential delegates speak at length. However, I support a Direct Primary System. If a system is good enough for 49/50 States it cannot be all that bad.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 9:26 p.m.

    Where do I go to sign the petition? My experience with delegates and state committee members has been that they are vocal, passionate idiots. I'd vote for just about anything that removes the fiefdom system that we currently have. Utah_1 needs to do a bit more research into the history of the Caucus and Convention system in Utah and realize that as far back as 1916 (if not even earlier) folks were complaining about the political machines that dominated party politics.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 7:59 p.m.

    "lost in DC" I can't answer for the others, but the reason I'm opposed to this ballot measure is that I think (if they get enough signatures)they will virtually blanket the airwaves pushing their agenda. They have A LOT of money behind them, which, in itself, is enough for me to be opposed to it.

    Lets face it: low information voters are terribly swayed by obnoxious ads; of which there will be many.

    The media also seem to be backing the signature gathering, (at least giving it much more press than it deserves)which is a "red flag" for me.

    MOST petition drives I think are very healthy, even if I'm opposed to them but this one smacks of "special interests" through and through.

    They tried to get their way at convention and lost. Now they're back to try yet another tactic.

    Its' interesting in itself that they make no mention of their loss at convention!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    JoCo Ute,
    So tell me how the hard-core right wingers are able to dictate who the dem nominees are.

    And why do you say nothing about the hard-core, left-wingers who use their negativity to drive a small group of fellow hard core believers to dominate the current process and produce candidates that continue to drive the dems to the extreme left. This element of the dem party is the reason for the perception of a dem war on conservative women, the traditional family, and religion, especially Christianity

    The candidates on the August ballot were not selected through the caucus system. Your analogy is invalid.

    if someone cannot make the caucus, they have no say in who their delegate is. How is that fair?

    why do you just rant on the repubs, when the dem process is the same? Oh, that’s because of the obvious double standard – dem=good, repub=bad!

    DN Subscriber and the rest of the opponents
    Why are you opposed to even letting the people vote on this?

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    Voters need to refuse to sign the petition and then vote AGAINST this arrogant power grab by a handful of career politicians, wealthy elites, and media power brokers.

    This takes away power from the grassroots to select candidates by showing up at caucuses and conventions and meeting the candidates for extended discussion of their qualifications and positions. Anyone who cares to can show up at the caucuses, and run to be a delegate.

    Instead this power grab will present candidates selected in smoke filled rooms by the party bosses, and sold to the voters with slick advertising and canned sound bites, and endorsed by left-leaning news media editorial boards. It is fairly easy to convince a large number of "low information voters" (also known as "you can fool some of the people all the time...") when you spend enough money on campaign advertising.

    Utah's declining voter participation relative to other states may reflect the rise in voter fraud and arrival of masses of "low information voters" not disgust with the Utah nominating process.

  • Evets Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    Having lived in other states that don't have a caucus system I love the Utah caucus system. For once I have some say in the selection of candidates. Without the caucus system the only thing I can do is listen to the commercials and vote. With the system I get to hear what others have to say, select a representative to the convention, and I can also later listen to the commercials and vote. In EM we get very, very good participation at the caucuses and have some very impassioned discussions. The ones that go as our delegates are not the rich and powerful but they are our neighbors and friends.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    You're sounding a little paranoid now buddy... get a grip. Republicans aren't trying to tell you what to do, and they don't have all the money. That's just a myth. There are wealthy Democrats too.

    This isn't just about Republicans. Democrats pick their primary candidates at convention too... Both parties will need to do away with their convention if this scheme wins. And only incumbents and rich candidates who can buy name recognition will succeed in the primary.

    Robb Cundick,
    Did you vote in the August Primary? If not... why do you want a primary (when we already have a primary which you don't bother to vote in)?

    I can see the need for a Primary. But we already have Party Primaries (both Democrat AND Republican) which nobody seems to even know we already have them... maybe because they have never bothered to vote in them.

    The only purpose for the convention is to nominate people for the party primary. Then you and I get to vote in that party primary to decide who will represent our party in the general election (IF you bother to show up and vote in the primary).

  • Robb Cundick Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    I have always participated in my neighborhood caucuses but strongly disagree with those who say it is the best system for choosing our candidates. The Utah Republican Convention ends up being dominated by delegates far to the right of the majority. They resisted efforts for reasonable change in the last convention; they have no one but themselves to blame for this petition initiative. I'm most definitely ready and anxious to sign.

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    heck lets face it the republican party in utah wants to just tell all of us what to do and would love to out law all others, because money is right and they are the money.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    If you don't want to bother going to your neighborhood caucus mtg. you're not going to bother to vote in the primary either.

    I actually look forward to my caucus mtg. People don't always like what I say but that's o.k. AT LEAST I get to say it! I get to visit with my neighbors for awhile, which is a very good thing. I respect that they think differently.

    Caucus meetings are really a short civics lesson. They're great!

    If you like those goofy TV ads (that tell you NOTHING about the candidates),and love all those signs stuck all around town for a year before the election you'll probably sign the petition.
    Incumbents (especially those from the D.C. crowd)have VERY deep pockets to buy themselves an election.

    When the petition gatherers ask me to sign - they'll get an earful!!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Utah_1 has a good point. Why should the party be forced to fund and support a candidate they don't support?

    If you can't win the party nomination (at convention)... then why should they have to fund your campaign? If you don't win the party nomination... you can still run as an independent (but they don't have to pay for your campaign). And why should they?

    I think it's OK to let the parties pick the candidates they want to support. The democrats do it at a convention of Democrat delegates (picked from the party establishment). Republicans do it at a convention of neighborhood elected delegates... what's so terrible about that? Both use a convention to pick who will meet in the party primary. What's so bad about that?

    And no... the convention doesn't mean ANY person can't get on the ballot. ANY candidate can still be on the ballot as an independent. And if you have so much appeal... you can win! It just means the party doesn't have to fund your campaign. And why should they if you can't win the support of your party?

  • jasonfurnes Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    By looking at the picture of those pushing for this. You can see who will be representing us. The rich, and the well connected. Make NO MISTAKE this is not about voter participation. This is about who has the biggest money chest to win elections. If you want higher voter participation, increase vote by mail participation, make it EASIER TO VOTE plain and simple!

  • Trust Logic Brigham City, UT, 00
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    I just read the initiative. By the same logic we can say that our government 'is flawed'. 'It authorizes a handful of political-party insiders to heavily' impact the laws of the land and 'prevents the broader public from even considering' what they would want those laws to be. The office's time requirements 'place restrictions precluding many Utahns' - working men and women- 'from any realistic opportunity to' run for office.

    From their justifications, should we be a straight democracy. Boy, our founding fathers didn't know what they were doing!

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    Trust Logic,
    If someone can't make the neighborhood caucus meeting, they have a month to tell their delegates who they are supporting. If someone doesn't make their parent teacher night, does that mean they can't talk to the teachers all year long?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    It will be funny if this initiative passes and nobody shows up to the primary (like currently happens).

    When I ask my friends who support this if they voted in the most recent primary... they all admit they didn't.

    Think about it... did YOU bother to vote in the August 13th Primary? Probably not.

    Did you vote in the Primary before that? Voter turnout number indicate probably not (for at least 80% of you).

    Have you EVER voted in a Primary? Probably not.

    But we want to do away with neighborhood caucus meetings at all cost... why? So we can have a primary (which nobody bothers to vote in)?

    If people would bother to show up and vote in the primaries I'd be all for this. But most of us are just too lazy to do that. Current voter turnout numbers PROVE that.

    I would like to propose a pre-requisit on the initiative... they have to get at least 20% voter turnout at a primary before it goes into affect. And you have to prove that you voted in the most recent primary to put your name on the petition. Then I'd be for it.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Re: " I admit that our voting system can always use improvement and participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will not fix that!"

    "Buy my vote" is not really intended to fix it.

    It's intention is to assure control of Utah by monied interests, who will make deals in smoke-filled back rooms as to who they will permit to run for positions as our leaders.

    "Buy my vote" is nothing more than a crass, venal, arrogant attempted coup, and should be rejected by any right-thinking Utahn.

  • UTAttorney Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    This is a sad day for Utah. Even though Delegates could have raised the threshold for nominating candidates at the last convention to avoid this, this effort by a few to gain power over the many will restrict the ballot. If they succeed, only rich, powerful, connected, and media-loved people will be able to run for major office. Gone are the Mr. Smiths under this proposal. Gone is the insurgent, the outsider, the voice of the people. If Count My Vote succeeds, you will never see a politician standing face-to-face with a voter again. You will never see them answering questions at town hall meetings again. You will only see TV commercials and news articles. You will only hear about candidates that the media tells you about. You won't hear about the reformers, the patriots, or someone who is just like you. You will only hear about the one who raised the most money (becoming beholden to those who gave it) and the one who sends out the most mail and hires the political consultant class (you know, those behind this effort). Please, don't sign the petition. Don't give the rich all the power.

  • JoCo Ute Grants Pass, OR
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    You need to be able to translate Leavitt's code ""We're the only state where a handful of people, just a handful of people, routinely choose" candidates. He's referring to the extremist element, the far right wingers who use their negativity to drive a small group of fellow hard core believers to dominate the current process and produce candidates that continue to drive the GOP to the extreme right. This element of the GOP is the reason for the perception of a Republican war on women, minorities, the young (especially students), and gay & lesbian voters.

    Most voters do not have the time to get involved in the caucus system. What are the people who support the current system afraid of?

  • Trust Logic Brigham City, UT, 00
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    What bothers me the most is how this has changed so drastically. For months I have followed this story and it has always discussed an 'alternate' way to the primary or changing the threshold. They almost had me convinced that they had good ideas and that they were just trying to encourage participation. I even defended them once. And now they stab me in the back with a direct primary! What a fool I was.

  • jean22 Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    It looks like Utah_1 is filling up the comment boards here and at the other SLC newspaper.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:12 p.m.

    Wash DC Reader,
    You need to be a Utah voter

    We already have a "bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are going to bypass their political party?

    At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

    Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?

  • jean22 Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    Where do I go to sign this petition?

  • Trust Logic Brigham City, UT, 00
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    This is a sad, sad day! I admit that our voting system can always use improvement and participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will not fix that! The caucus attendance has doubled twice over the last four years, while the primary participation hasn't. It's hovering around 10%. Is that better representation? Plus, if their reasoning for going to a direct primary instead of modifying our current system was to "keep the issue simple for voters", then they must consider the general population too stupid to understand a system that is working and relies on communicating with your neighbors. This is not California!

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increases. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. We need to educate those moving in and not understanding our system.

    Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education.

    The system and the experience attending the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote” initiative isn't the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political parties.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

    The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

    We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.

  • Wash DC Reader Reston, VA
    Sept. 18, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    So how does one sign the petition?